Whitmer asks for extension of health insurance sign-ups due to coronavirus

Published: Oct. 15, 2020 at 5:25 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WJRT) - Anyone who lost health insurance due to a layoff during the coronavirus pandemic definitely isn’t alone.

A nonpartisan health advocacy group says more workers in Michigan lost their health insurance from February to May than during any full year period in history. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer wants to give them a longer period of time to seek federal health insurance.

“A lot of people just didn’t know what to and they kind of felt lost and a lot of people just went without insurance," said Tim McCaron of the Hamilton Community Health Network.

In Michigan alone, the National Center for Coverage Innovation says there was a 46% increase of uninsured adults from February to May.

“With the affordable care act or the marketplace they only give you a 60-day window to do like a special enrollment period. So say you did lose your job, you had 60 days to enroll for a health care plan outside of open enrollment," McCaron said.

But he believes many people missed that window. He’s advocating for an extension of the open enrollment period, which currently runs from Nov. 1 to Dec. 15.

Whitmer also is calling for an open enrollment extension through the end of January. About 260,000 Michigan residents were covered under health insurance purchased through the marketplace in 2020.

McCaron said he’s ready to help people sign up --- a service Hamilton offers for free to anyone, even if they aren’t a patient.

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